Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob – Valentine’s Day

Dear Uncle Bob and Aunty Louise:  Thank you for the opportunity to ask you questions. I want to know about Valentine’s Day, February 14.  I can tell from the stores that this might be a holiday for small children and adults too.  Would you please explain Valentine’s Day?


Uncle Bob:  Well, you got that right!  Valentine’s Day is for children and adults, but it’s very different for the two groups.  There’s a whole heap of history, and a bunch of advertising and marketing.  We’ll try to touch on it all.  Louise, why don’t you start with children…


Aunt Louise:  Valentine’s is not a school vacation holiday, but most children celebrate friendship and receive lots of candy at the end of the school day.  I remember helping decorate “mailboxes” for the classroom, and receiving quite a few lovely valentines our daughter made at school.  Many teachers sent home class lists, reminding the parents to have their child send valentine cards to everyone in the classroom, so no one was left out.


Uncle Bob:  But when it comes to teenagers and adults, it is more of a boyfriend/girlfriend or, as I prefer to say, sweetheart, sort of thing.


Aunt Louise:  But many of us say “Happy Valentine’s Day,” a lot, to lots of people.  Especially women, who buy 85% of the Valentine cards sold, which were first mass-produced in 1840.


Uncle Bob:  And that brings us to the possible origins of Valentine’s Day, which includes saints in the Catholic Church, named either Valentine or Valentinus, who was imprisoned for defying an order to not marry soldiers (Emperor Claudius II thought single men were better soldiers).  There were two other Valentines who wrote letters from prison.  There are several other ideas and stories of how the holiday may have started, but we really don’t know for sure.


Louise:  The oldest known written valentine is a poem by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife in 1415, while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.  Cards were first mass-produced in 1840.  I don’t remember if our parents gave candy or flowers to each other like folks do now, but those certainly have become popular the last few years.  Bob usually brings me some candy, and some years we’ve planted another rosebush in the garden.  (I like that the best of all.)


Uncle Bob:  Hmm…I guess I better get my act together, and go find another rosebush.  We hope to talk with y’all again soon!


Aunt Louise:  Yes, don’t forget to write to us at

Welcome Reception was spectacular!


On Saturday, September 16 we hosted the 40th Annual International Student and Scholar Welcome Reception at Georgia Tech.  There was a crowd of over 400 that included students from various colleges and universities,  Kiwanis Clubs members, and AMIS supporters and Board members.  We enjoyed wonderful jazz music performed by the Kennesaw State University Jazz Trio and food sponsored by Carrabba’s of Kennesaw.

Students and volunteers had conversations, shared laughs, and enjoyed the event.  Many signed up to either be an Amigo as a volunteer or receive an Amigo as a student.  A big thank you for all that participated to make the event a success!  DSC_5279.JPG

KSU Jazz Trio.JPGDSC_5308.JPGDSC_5289.JPG

Welcome Reception next week, Saturday, 9/16!

Please help us with our headcount at the 40th Annual International Student and Scholar Welcome Reception will be held on Saturday, September 16 from 2-4pm at Georgia Tech Student Center Ballroom (350 Ferst Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30332).


New Executive Director Named!

Dear AMIS Family,

I am delighted to introduce you to Irene Wong, our new AMIS Executive Director!

Irene comes to AMIS with a unique combination of experience, education and interests in non-profit leadership, student ministry, volunteering, and international programming.  She currently serves as President of the Parent Teacher Association at Teasley Elementary School. With this experience, Irene brings to AMIS demonstrated success leading a non-profit through changing times, supporting volunteers, and delivering on its mission.  Irene also has years of ministry experience, including international and student ministry.

Irene started with AMIS on Wednesday, August 23, just in time for the start of our new program year.   The Executive Director position is now a part-time role, and Irene will set “in-office” hours after a period of orientation.  Her contact information is or 404.846.4395.

I want to take a moment to thank our Program Administrator Dené Dixon for the outstanding job she has done, keeping AMIS going and preparing for the program year.  Irene and Dené will be a great team.

I hope to see you at the September 16 Welcome Reception.   Come and meet Irene, welcome new and returning international students and scholars, and reconnect with others in the AMIS family!

Donna Poseidon, President



As a third generation American of Chinese descent, Irene has had a life-long interest in international cultures.  She grew up in New York City and majored in East Asian Studies at Brown University.  In college, she joined InterVarsity Christian Fellowship where she developed a passion for campus ministry.  She spent a year teaching English in China before serving as a campus staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for eight years, during which time she started an international student ministry at Brown, led summer Global Projects to China, and became a new staff fundraising trainer.  In 2000, she moved to Atlanta to work with InterVarsity at Emory University.   After that, she went to Fuller Theological Seminary for a Master of Divinity, and then returned to Atlanta to marry her husband, who she met in Atlanta.

Irene was a Ministry Director at the Atlanta Taiwanese Presbyterian Church for 3 years before stepping away from professional ministry after her second child was born.  Even as a stay-at-home parent, Irene has been an active volunteer at her church and local public school.  At North Avenue Presbyterian Church, Irene has been an active elder involved with International Student ministry at Georgia Tech, Children and Family Ministries, and Strategic Planning.  Irene is a Candidate for Ministry in the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta.  Irene and her husband, William, have three daughters ages 11, 9, and 6 and spending time with her family is one of Irene’s greatest joys.

From Irene: “I am so excited and delighted to be joining the AMIS family.  What a wonderful opportunity to be involved in the ministry of building friendship and hospitality in a world that desperately needs the benefits of reaching out across cultures.  I look forward to serving international students and getting to know all of you as we walk together, talk together, and build a more peace-filled world.”

Irene Wong, Executive Director

International Students Are Here!

International Student Orientations began this week.  Several invitations from universities and colleges have been extended to AMIS to introduce its programs to new international students.  Please be a friend to an international student through our Amigo Program here.  Help us welcome the international students by attending the 40th Annual International Student and Scholar Welcome Reception here.

International Student Advisor Luncheon

AMIS kicked off the school year on August 2 by hosting its annual luncheon for international student advisors from area colleges and universities.  These advisors are a bridge between the students and those seeking to befriend them through the Amigo program and Christmas International House.  This event, which was efficiently emceed by Kirk Keene, provided an opportunity for the advisors to meet and mingle and break bread (naan as this was a Mediterranean lunch) with AMIS Board members, volunteers, supporters from Kiwanis, and our founder, Fahed.  Long term volunteer Nadeen Green spoke briefly about the benefits to the students in participating in our programs and encouraged the advisors to share that message with their students. A special thank you to Dené Dixon for putting it all together as events like this do not just magically happen.  “A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet.”2017 ISA Luncheon2

An Update on the search for an AMIS Executive Director

Dear Friends of AMIS,

The search for the AMIS Executive Director is well underway.  A small group of AMIS Board members is serving as the search committee.  The first activity was the development of the position description, using input from the AMIS strategic plan the Board and staff developed in 2015, insights from both our former Executive Directors, and guidance from the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.  With this in hand we posted the position on a several internet sites, and asked our network of volunteers and supporters to also suggest candidates.  We are enthused by the number of interested applicants and their qualifications.

Every resume was reviewed and the search committee held phone interviews with many of the best matches.   As I write this, the search committee is meeting a few of the candidates for face-to-face interviews and we hope to come to agreement with the right candidate – for AMIS and our students – in the near future.  All understand AMIS’ value, the services provided to students, and opportunities and challenges, and embrace and support the AMIS mission.

Our programs start up in the summer as international students arrive in the U.S. for the fall term, and with plan in we would like to have the Executive Director in place, to fully participate in these activities.

While the search is underway, our AMIS services continue.  Amigo volunteers recently said goodbye to students finishing the spring term at Atlanta-area colleges and universities.  The Board honored 4 members who are finishing their terms in June.  Under Program Administrator Dené Dixon’s leadership, planning is underway for all the events that take place in the summer and early fall as the school year begins. Dené is handling the programs in her consistent, caring, and competent style.  We are thankful for Dené and her commitment during this transition time.

As we prepare for our programs to restart, and the pending welcome of an executive director, the AMIS mission – to promote cultural understanding through friendship and hospitality with international students in the Greater Atlanta area – is more important than ever.  On behalf of the Board, we are grateful for each volunteer and supporter and appreciate your continued commitment to the students.

Donna Poseidon, President

What are you doing this summer in Atlanta?

“As the weather is heating up, students start looking for internships and summer jobs. Check the below resource for internship opportunities if you plan on staying in Atlanta!”

%d bloggers like this: